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"A Sunday On La Grande Jatte" by George Seurat

"A Sunday On La Grande Jatte" by George Seurat


"A Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte" is one of the most famous paintings by the George Seurat. We are talking about a picture that has entered history not only for its beauty, but also because it represents the beginning of a new era, of a new artistic current: Pointillism.

History of the painting

Painted between 1883 and 1885, this painting is about 200 X 300 cm and it is now kept in Chicago at "The Art Institute".

After spending a year in the army, once discharged, George Seurat decided to devote himself entirely to art and opened a private studio in Paris. Here he began to paint some works and in 1883, about three years after the opening of his studio, he exhibited his works to the public, collecting opinions of all kinds. 

More determined than ever to move forward, Seurat began to portray the island of La Grande Jatte, a demanding work that was different from all the others he had done before. Seurat partly abandoned the rules of Impressionism and added a personal imprint to his style. The great attention to detail and the desire to reproduce each subject in an extremely realistic way is one of the peculiarities of this painting, in fact he focuses both on colour and light and on form to create his painting in an extremely realistic way. 

In order to faithfully reproduce the park and the various subjects that can be seen in the painting, George Seurat made several "live" sketches, which he then perfected to create a faithful copy of the landscape he had in front of his eyes. 

However, "A Sunday On La Grande Jatte" is a painting that became famous above all for the innovative technique used by the painter: Pointillism, a real novelty for that period. 

Considering the large size of the painting, it was not easy to paint with this technique and achieve such a faithful result, but George Seurat, who was a perfectionist and very patient, managed to create a revolutionary work of art, which entered history.

Looking at the picture from a distance, the human eye tends to join the numerous dots that make up the painting, thus obtaining a clean, clear view of the whole, and as you approach you can see the great dedication of the painter, you can distinguish the dots that give life to this unique work.

The opinions of the critics

Thanks to his innovative technique, George Seurat managed to make himself appreciated by critics who were enthusiastic about the novelty proposed by the French painter. However, it was not clear to anyone in which artistic current to frame this painting. At first the critics called this new current "Divisionism", but later this technique became "Pointillism". 

In addition to being made with many dots of the same size, "A Sunday On La Grande Jatte" is a painting that also has another peculiarity: the painter surrounded the picture with a frame made in the same style: on the edges of the painting there is a frame executed with the technique of Pointillism, directly on the canvas, which was quite strange and innovative for that time.

Article by: Aurora Caraman.

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